Not the Only One

September 13, 2021

It’s no secret that I was born and raised in the mountains and valleys of Northeastern Pennsylvania (aka, NEPa), or that I set most of my books in fictional towns based on the area.

I grew up in a town so small, it didn’t appear on the printed maps we used prior to the satellite/digital age. In fact, the only people who’d ever heard of it were those who had either lived there or who had family who lived there. When people asked me where I was from, I’d just answer with the name of bigger town in the region they might have heard of, to avoid the blank stares and awkward moments I’d get if I gave them the actual name. 

Then one day in the Silver SEALs author group, we decided to share our home addresses so we could send each other signed copies of our books – you know, as keepsakes to remember the project. I opened the doc to enter my info, scrolled down, and was certain my eyes were playing tricks on me.

Donna Michaels lives in the same tiny town at the base of the mountains where I grew up.

Of course, I immediately PMed Donna. It turns out that yes, she really does, just a few blocks from my mom’s house. We got to talking. I couldn’t understand how that happened because like in my fictional Sumneyville, everyone knows everyone (or at least they did when I was a kid). 

The explanation was quite simple: Donna moved to the area long after I’d moved away. But I still think it’s still pretty cool having that hometown connection! Even cooler? Donna and I have the chance to work together again with the Shadow SEALs. As a matter of fact, her book just released. More on that below. However, don’t be surprised if one of these days you see a selfie with Donna and me in Pine Ridge, Birch Falls, or Sumneyville! 

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